Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

Personal brands, Marketing & Social Media . . .

with 2 comments

As I said in a previous post, your personal brand is your reputation in a business context (or an employment context).  It is the sum total of everything about you; who you are, what you do, how you appear while doing it, how effective you are doing whatever it is you do and what the results (positive or negative) are once you’re done doing what you do.  It is how you present yourself to employers, co-workers, friends and acquaintances and (like it or not) how you are perceived by them.  All of this is your personal brand.

Marketing is how you advertise your reputation (your personal brand).  Granted, you’re marketing on a small scale (not that small but certainly not on a scale similar to, say, Chrysler Corporation).  There are numerous ways to market your brand; volunteer work, networking (the old-fashioned way), joining business or fraternal organizations, etc.  As an adjunct to your other marketing tactics, you may also become a part of a social network; MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like are all social networks originally intended to provide a means for people from far-flung locations to interact with one another (albeit in a limited way).  With more and more of the world’s population becoming connected to the internet it was only natural for a means to become available for a (more or less) free exchange of information; cultural, personal and business information is routinely exchanged, or at least presented, through social networks.  Here, in the virtual world of “friends”, “fans” and “followers”, is where we present our personal brand for near-universal consumption.  We update our status on Twitter, share links to websites we like,  promote causes we care about, post pictures or our pets (or our kids, or both) on Facebook and MySpace.  Perhaps we write blogs, explaining what it is we do, what services we (or our companies) provide in an attempt to enhance our “brand” and enlarge our  “circle of influence”.   In all of this we are doing exactly what major corporations around the world are doing; we are pushing our brands into the consciousness of, literally, billions of people.  Our competitors are corporations, large and small, global and local, all competing for the attentions of millions upon millions of information-saturated minds.  In the last ten years, what once were social networks have become social-business networks, where the inhabitants are busily trying to profit from the business of being social (or portraying themselves as being socially aware).

And these companies are doing more than pitching products.  They’re also trolling for information; what you watch on TV, where you buy your clothes, groceries or your morning commuting coffee; what ‘papers you read, which sites you like to surf on the ‘Net; all the better to target your preferences for the products they sell, or will sell in the future.  They’re looking for customers, to be sure, but they’re also looking for employees, busy little worker-bees to imagine and produce all those products and services they’re so busily pitching.  A recent CareerBuilder survey found 1 in 10 employment recruiters used search engine optimization to screen potential employees.  One in 10 also checked social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. And, according to a December, 2007 survey by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy reasearch organization, nearly half of U.S. hiring officials use the Internet when vetting job applications (and promotion candidates).

With all this going on the Internet, it would seem to be a good idea to spend some time and thought on protecting your brand, not just enhancing it.  The competition is very well equipped for what they do.  So, the next time you’re feeling stressed and need to vent, don’t do it on MySpace or Facebook, don’t “tweet” your outrage at something your dipshit boss or supervisor said or did.  If you must vent, write it down in your journal or diary, not the Internet.  Likewise, don’t be so anxious for that video of you dancing on the table, wearing a lampshade at your friend’s party to “go viral” on YouTube. You really never know who’s watching; and you don’t want to get passed over for that promotion, or be denied an interview for your next job (because your boss saw that video).

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2 Responses

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  1. Pitch perfect point about not using the Internet to vent.

    - m

    June 2, 2011 at 7:55 am

    • Thanks for the comment, Mike. . .I appreciate the encouragement & support

      Steve

      stevewthomas

      June 2, 2011 at 10:39 am


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